3 Lies About Hosted UC You Can’t Buy Into
By Ted Schuman, CEO, PlanetOne
Unified Communications (UC) is a profitable, high-value line of business for VARs and MSPs (managed services providers) so why are so few capitalizing on it? For some, it may just be the technology that keeps them at bay. For others, it could be the perceived market opportunity. Whatever the reason, the reality is that UC solutions have evolved into a turnkey technology that’s built to scale and, according to market research firm COMMfusion, is expected to reach $8.47 billion in revenues by 2016, making it a lucrative solution for channel partners.
Still not convinced? Here are three lies about UC that run deep within the IT channel and have kept many sitting on the sidelines:
Hosted UC Isn’t for SMBs.
I’ve heard people say this over and over, and it’s just not true. In fact, hosted UC is ideal for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and enterprises (SMEs), and could theoretically be the last communications system these organizations will ever have to buy. Why? Because good UC solutions are infinitely scalable and based on cloud technologies that will allow organizations the speed and flexibility to quickly adopt upgrades and market innovations. If deployed correctly, they are future-proof technologies that can have a lasting impact on the success of the organization.
Another benefit that SMBs and SMEs love is the fact that there are no capital expenditures with hosted UC. It’s simply just another operational expense similar to the rest of the organization’s utilities. And, because new applications, content, and services will be based in the cloud, the solution is easily maintained.
UC solutions and services also enable the organization to become more productive, efficient, accessible, and mobile – virtually eliminating phone tag and ensuring important calls aren’t missed. UC also simplifies marketing and overall client engagement by allowing the business or individuals to have just one phone number for anywhere, anytime access.
Hosted UC Isn’t Secure.
This is absolutely untrue. Leading hosted UC service providers rely on carrier-grade, class 5 data centers that far surpass that of an SMB or SME with an on-premise solution hiding behind a firewall on their LAN. If the business operates within a heavily regulated vertical such as healthcare or financial services, the channel partner can rest assured that the data, services, and security safeguards of a reputable hosted UC solution are secure and in compliance. That said, before selecting a hosted UC provider, always ask about the security they have in place to keep your customer’s data safe.
You Can’t Make Money From Hosted UC.
Not only does hosted UC provide a better service to the businesses, as a VAR or MSP, hosted UC becomes a recurring and profitable revenue source. For example, hosted UC solutions typically provide channel partners with a monthly commission of 10 to 15 percent. The average customer length is six to eight years. On the conservative side, when you do the math, that’s 120 percent per year, reaching 720 percent at year six. There aren’t many solutions out there that command those margins.
Another reason to embrace the WAN and add UC solutions to the mix is competition. Historically, Telcos have stayed away from small to mid-size businesses and enterprises – namely because the LAN was the domain of VARs and MSPs. But times are changing and the move to the cloud has opened up the playing field and introduced new competition. By adopting UC solutions VARs and MSPs can keep Telcos out, while building out recurring revenues and delivering higher client value.
Ted Schuman is CEO of PlanetOne Communications (www.planetone.net), a business partner for the IT channel and telecom industry for identifying and delivering connectivity solutions to small and midsize businesses and enterprises. With more than two decades of experience in the telecom industry, Schuman has established PlanetOne as a market pioneer, developing successful alliances with more than 185 global services providers. Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ., PlanetOne has been celebrated by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, for four years running.